Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Trifid Nebula with Mallincam DSm: 9/1/15

Last night was a pretty miserable one astronomy-wise here in north central Indiana. By 9:30, the temps were still in the 80s and the sky was very hazy, but I decided to go to the observatory anyway.  Unfortunately, I forgot my power source for the Xtreme, but I did have the DSm with me. I decided to play around a little and slewed to the Trifid Nebula--an object I had never imaged before. The nebula was low in the sky from my site and deep in the red haze scatter of the town. In my 80mm guide scope, it was invisible. I popped the MFR 5-MKII on the DSc and started imaging. The nebula popped up with a 15-second exposure (gain 4). The image was very washed out and showed significant vignetting (I should have just used the front part of the MFR, but I was imaging reasonably well and I did not want to mess with the camera). I adjusted the histogram and a pretty decent, somewhat grainy, image appeared on the screen. With some stacking and light processing, the image is much improved.

The Trifid Nebula (M20) consists of an open cluster of stars and emission, reflection, and dark nebulas. The nebula is a stellar nursery; the birthplace of new stars and a fascinating object to study and image!

Below is a slightly more processed version of the above image. This version has slightly boosted contrast.